Key Point: “To get back to a normal economy where people drive spending and drive profits, we’ve got to have more people vaccinated.”
WEAR-TV: Could the vaccine mandate have a positive impact? Local economist says yes
By Lauren Krakau
A Pensacola economist says he believes president Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate is a positive thing for the economy.
President Biden announced the vaccine mandate Thursday, stating over 80 million workers in the U.S. could soon be forced to get vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID.
“Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this — United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Foods,” President Biden said in his press conference.
Channel 3 spoke to Pensacola Economist Dr. Rick Harper.
Harper, who also serves as the Economic Advisor at Triumph Gulf Coast, tells us he thinks the vaccine mandate will have the biggest impact on the hospitality and leisure industries.
“Obviously the people who are most vulnerable are the ones who cut back the most on that sort of spending, but it’s important for everybody,” Dr. Harper said.
Despite some pushback, he feels the mandate is a good move for the economy, especially for Northwest Florida due to the state’s high reliance on tourists.
“To get back to a normal economy where people drive spending and drive profits, we’ve got to have more people vaccinated,” Dr. Harper said.
He believes we need to focus on making those who feel unsafe — more comfortable going to places like restaurants and hotels, especially with the delta variant on our heels.
“Once people feel unsafe, they’ll stop doing things that they consider to put them at risk and so a lot of that is stuff that generates activity in the economy,” Dr. Harper said. “That will be damaging to the economy overall and the quickest way to the economy back to fully functioning, hitting on all cylinders, is to have greater vaccinations, achieve the herd immunity so that hopefully we don’t keep getting variant after variant.”